Foreign Policy Open Thread: Jared Kushner Will Bring Peace to the Middle East…

… shortly after I win the Miss America contest. For which, let it be specified, I do not meet the basic requirements. And also, I wouldn’t enter if I *did*. So, context!

The Oval Office squatter and his Repub enablers don’t care about what happens in the Middle East, and even if they did, they haven’t the ability to do anything about it. But if they can skim some cash from the petrostate oligarchs for putting on a heavily PowerPointed dog & pony show — about the money, that, they care.

Long information thread here:

68 replies
  1. 1

    What is it Civil Rights folks used to say? If they do it without you, it’s not about you.

  2. 2
    TTT says:

    Israel offered to create land links between WB and Gaza as part of 2-state offers in 2000, 2001, and 2008. That element, at least, is not so unthinkable.

  3. 3
    Another Scott says:


    More than half of the $50 billion would be spent in the economically troubled Palestinian territories over 10 years while the rest would be split between Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan. Some of the projects would be in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, where investments could benefit Palestinians living in adjacent Gaza, a crowded and impoverished coastal enclave.

    The plan also proposes nearly a billion dollars to build up the Palestinians’ tourism sector, a seemingly impractical notion for now given the frequent flareups between Israeli forces and militants from Hamas-ruled Gaza, and the tenuous security in the occupied West Bank.

    It’s a scam. $2.5B/yr for Palestine is nothing. Paying off her neighbors is stupid and won’t help the Palestinians.

    Donnie and Javanka apparently want the oil-rich Arab states (or at least the ones that they’re friendly with) to set up a slush fund for real-estate developments which no doubt would include some sort of Trump-branded thing. Which, no doubt, would be in area outside Gaza and the West Bank.

    Why they think anyone in the region who has an actual stake in the future of Palestine (and Israel) would be fooled by this is (yet another) example of how dangerous hubris and narcissism is.


    tl;dr – What, me cynical?


  4. 4
    gene108 says:

    His entire presidency is nothing but finding ways to profit from the office.

  5. 5
    Martin says:

    Thankfully morally bankrupt people like Kushner are almost universally incompetent. That’s why people like Mitch McConnell stand out so clearly.

  6. 6
    joel hanes says:


  7. 7
    Ruckus says:

    But this plan doesn’t suggest a new approach. It is ahistorical. It suggests a repetition of failed past attempts…

    Nothing like digging up the oldies but when you dig up a song that was never higher than 95 on the charts and was only there for 1 week, you really haven’t accomplished anything. And it’s worse when all you do is reissue the tune with Capt Kangaroo singing. Cause he’s been dead about as long as this plan has been.

    Attempting to find ways to profit. Like everything else he does, always looking in the wrong place, with the wrong people, with the wrong project, with the wrong, well, everything. He’s a doofus dipshit, always has been always will be. And all his friends are no better, possibly far worse than he is.

  8. 8
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Another Scott:

    1. This “plan” is moronic.
    2. Is there not a copy editor at Reuters who knows the difference between “between” and “among”?

  9. 9
    plato says:


  10. 10
    Jay says:

    Anne Laurie,

    You are very much a Miss, Ms., Mrs, America to me.

  11. 11
    Immanentize says:

    @Steve in the ATL:
    That’s your problem right there —
    There are no copy editors anymore.

  12. 12
    plato says:

    Triple word score— Adam Ellis (@moby_dickhead) February 2, 2017

  13. 13
    A Ghost To Most says:

    Where’s Jerzy Russian when you need him?

    Christ, what an asshole.

  14. 14
    rikyrah says:


  15. 15
    Ken says:

    Suddenly my proposal to grant US citizenship to all the Palestinians and relocate them to one of our sparser Midwest states doesn’t look so idiotic. Only by contrast, of course.

    (Hey, Baud – looking for a Secretary of State?)

  16. 16

    @Steve in the ATL:

    Is there not a copy editor at Reuters who literally knows the difference between “between” and “among”?

    Fixed it for ya.

  17. 17
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Immanentize: you needed one this morning with your nym! Coffee maker on the fritz?

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: helpful as always, Billy Boy!

  18. 18
    J R in WV says:


    Can you grow olives in Kansas? Missouri? Think not!!

  19. 19

    @Steve in the ATL: Here’s a picture of one of our California missions* as a peace offering.

    *Our meetup group had a shoot this afternoon.

  20. 20
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    . Is there not a copy editor at Reuters who knows the difference between “between” and “among”?

    That literally makes me as crazy as “an historian” makes you.

  21. 21
    Jerzy Russian says:

    @A Ghost To Most: At a family event. I managed to go the whole day without noticing anything in the news, etc.

  22. 22
    Jeffro says:

    @Ken: I’d like to second that proposal. I had thought about offering the Israelis the same deal, but F that…let’s just let the Palestinians out of there and leave the Israelis wondering who they can abuse next.

  23. 23
    NotMax says:

    Monty Hall was infinitely better at making a deal.

  24. 24
    Immanentize says:

    @Steve in the ATL: That was odd, wasn’t it. But I finally payed the repo guy and got my missing syllable back.

  25. 25
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: nice!

    @SiubhanDuinne: I caught myself lecturing an HR manager (in Florida, no less!) on this point the other day, and wondered if I could do an intervention on myself.

  26. 26
    Jay says:

    Acts of Hope: Challenging Empire on the World Stage
    By Rebecca Solnit

    What We Hope For

    On January 18, 1915, eighteen months into the first world war, the first terrible war in the modern sense — slaughter by the hundreds of thousands, poison gas, men living and dying in the open graves of trench warfare, tanks, barbed wire, machine guns, airplanes — Virginia Woolf wrote in her journal, “The future is dark, which is on the whole, the best thing the future can be, I think.” Dark, she seems to say, as in inscrutable, not as in terrible. We often mistake the one for the other. People imagine the end of the world is nigh because the future is unimaginable. Who twenty years ago would have pictured a world without the USSR and with the Internet? We talk about “what we hope for” in terms of what we hope will come to pass but we could think of it another way, as why we hope. We hope on principle, we hope tactically and strategically, we hope because the future is dark, we hope because it’s a more powerful and more joyful way to live. Despair presumes it knows what will happen next. But who, two decades ago, would have imagined that the Canadian government would give a huge swathe of the north back to its indigenous people, or that the imprisoned Nelson Mandela would become president of a free South Africa

  27. 27
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Immanentize: we weren’t sure if it was you or a tribute poster

  28. 28
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I would pay good cash folding money to watch a Monty Hall-Donald Trump “Deal-Off.”

  29. 29
    divF says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Which mission ? It looks more like the drop-off side of a train station.

  30. 30
    Steve in the ATL says:


    In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.

    Really, John—are there only TWO crosses in Flanders Fields? I don’t think so!

  31. 31
    NotMax says:

    @Steve in the ATL

    Did he think betwiixt has something to do with a candy bar?


  32. 32
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @NotMax: you peaked earlier today with “Jews and hamstrings don’t mix“

  33. 33
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    Pedants Anonymous is there for you.

    “Hi, my name is Steve, and I am literally a grammar nazi.”

    “Heil, Steve.”

  34. 34
    Steeplejack says:


    On January 18, 1915, eighteen months into the first world war [. . .].

    Only off by a year, but who’s counting?

  35. 35
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: lol. “I am literally a grammar nazi. Heil Strunk and White!”

  36. 36
    Another Scott says:

    @Steve in the ATL: rofl.

    Lennon, (or McCartney, (or Harrison, (but not Ringo))) was asked in an interview about some particular words in a lyric and what it meant, and he said “oh, it just made it rhyme better”.

    And poets get to break the rules. It’s a law!!


  37. 37
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Another Scott: so we should just let our children listen to “lay [sic] lady lay [sic]” or “lay [sic] down sally”? Or Jim Morrison’s willful and malicious failure to use the subjunctive case in “light my fire”—“if I was [sic] to say to you…”? Won’t anyone think of the children?

  38. 38
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Another Scott: I suppose it’s ok…as long as they have a license for it….

  39. 39
    NotMax says:


    And how come Japan gets such a wide choice of Kit Kats?

    We must close the Kit Kat gap!


  40. 40
    Jay says:

    28 July, 1914.

    18 January 1915.

    Grammar Nazi or Nazi?

    Phone lines are open.

    Text 54321 for yes, 54322 for no.

    Text charges are $2.53, per response.

  41. 41
  42. 42
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @NotMax: I’ve had the Green Tea Kit Kat. I strongly suggest we keep the gap as wide open as possible. Domo arigato!

  43. 43
    Another Scott says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Ban ’em!! Like we did in the good old days of the 1950s. Kids don’t need to be hearing about enchiladas and ‘tatoe patches and such!1!1ONE.


  44. 44
  45. 45

    @divF: San Fernando, that’s the Convento in the picture. It was where they greeted guests to the mission, so the train station drop off isn’t too far off.

  46. 46
  47. 47
    NotMax says:

    @Steve in the ATL

    (Steve Martin affectation) Well, sumi-i-i-i-masen!


  48. 48
    Another Scott says:

    A decent history Twitter thread by Kevin M. Kruse:


    Kevin M. Kruse Verified account @KevinMKruse
    Jun 19

    These are not figures any politician should be reminiscing about.

    But Biden’s point was that he could make friends with people who didn’t share his values.

    They were in his caucus, as he noted, so it wasn’t “bipartisanship.” But working with them *was* an ideological stretch.


    Listen to the American Conservative Union (@ACUConservative), the conservative lobby which rated House and Senate members each year based on their votes.

    Like the ADA ratings for liberals, these are a great gauge for how conservative a legislator was regarded at the time.


    Here are the ACU’s Senate ratings for Biden’s first year in office, 1973.

    Eastland and Talmadge scored 77 and 76 (24th and 25th most conservative).

    Meanwhile, Biden scored a 9 (74th most conservative, between Ted Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey).


    But, to be fair here, Biden’s point — that he worked with people with whom he ideologically disagreed — is born out by the record.

    Eastland and Talmadge were fellow Democrats, yes–but at the conservative end of the party’s diverse caucus, while Biden was at the liberal one.


    Being able to work with people one disagrees with is important (AOC is working with Ted Cruz on various things). But even if Biden has a decent point to make, he has a habit of doing so in the most tone-deaf way possible (“he didn’t call me ‘boy'”). :-/



  49. 49
    divF says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: The El Camino Real bell marker in front should have tipped me off.

  50. 50
    Steeplejack says:

    @Another Scott:

    In all the talk about “Biden’s point—that he worked with people with whom he ideologically disagreed”—I have yet to see anyone, including Biden, detail specifically what work got done. Just showing up at the office together every day? Naming a few post offices?

    Mitch McConnell is probably happy to go that far today.

    But, of course, the real issue is how do you work with people on big, existential issues on which they are utterly intractable? That is the situation we face now, not some gauzy Chris Matthews past where Tip and Ronnie got together over a drink and sorted things out.

    ETA: Also, Biden seems to have slept through most of Obama’s two terms in office, if he thinks it’s just a matter of “working with people with whom you disagree.”

  51. 51
    Cacti says:

    @Another Scott:

    Not everyone can be savvy enough to get a DNA test to prove their Native American ancestry.

  52. 52
    Another Scott says:

    @Steeplejack: We have a recent example of just such an issue.

    The JCPOA with Iran.


    Mr. Biden then told the gathering that he had spent his entire political life standing up for the state of Israel. But he also said he had decades of experience negotiating arms control agreements, and that he had little patience for those who argued that the United States should never negotiate with its adversaries.

    Mr. Biden spoke about several details of the agreement and addressed head­on many of the arguments posed by the deal’s critics, including those aired in TV ads.

    There is “one thing I want to set straight because I’ve seen the ads,” Mr. Biden said. “That is the idea that we can’t inspect military facilities — it’s simply not true. Let me get this straight. Look at me. As one person once said, ‘Read my lips.’ Not true,” he said to laughter. “We can, with cause, inspect any place in Iran if we believe there is illegal activity taking place.”

    Mr. Biden’s final, final, final point in his speech was that he had traveled 992,894 miles as vice president and met “virtually every major leader in the world.”

    “As I make my case on what U.S. policy should be, you know the one question I get: ‘Can you do it? Your government is dysfunctional. Can you deliver?’ ” Mr. Biden said. “Just imagine what would happen to our influence, guys, when the president cannot deliver on an agreement that the world — this is not a bilateral agreement — that the world thinks is important.”

    Citing efforts to punish Russia for its annexation of Crimea and support of separatists in eastern Ukraine, to get the Europeans to continue their support for NATO, and to reassure the Japanese and South Koreans about China’s ambitions in the South China Sea, Mr. Biden said it was vital for the world to be able to take the American president at his word.

    “Doesn’t mean we should be for a bad agreement,” Mr. Biden said, “but it is, it is, it is implicated in whether or not the United States of America’s Congress puts us in a position to make sure this deal goes into effect. Amen.”


    Good points all around. We know that Donnie and his minions will never be able to reach an agreement with Iran (or North Korea) because they (and we) know that Donnie lies and does not feel constrained by any sort of agreement that the US has in place now.

    Working with people you disagree with is the only way problems get solved in politics. Biden’s right there. And the US has had decades of disagreements with Iran (and the DPRK). But there has to be a willingness on the other side to work on the issue in good faith, and Biden knows that the GOP has not done that on important issues in many, many years. So, harking back 45+ years ago to some time when he could have civil discussions with unreconstructed racists isn’t really relevant to where we are now.

    And he knows that – or should.



  53. 53
    Steeplejack says:

    @Another Scott:

    The JCPOA with Iran.

    Kind of a weak example. Biden was vice president, not a senator, basically talking up the agreement to a private audience and (allegedly) trying to influence Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, who was reportedly “undecided.” Yee-haw.

    But there has to be a willingness on the other side to work on the issue in good faith, and Biden knows that the GOP has not done that on important issues in many, many years. So, harking back 45+ years ago to some time when he could have civil discussions with unreconstructed racists isn’t really relevant to where we are now.

    Here you are exactly on point.

  54. 54
    Steeplejack says:

    Damn it. One of those third-tier cable channels got me hooked for a few months on ancient reruns of Patrick McGoohan in Danger Man (pre-Secret Agent) and pre-Mrs. Peel Avengers. I gained a great appreciation for Honor Blackman as Catherine Gale.

    Now they’ve disappeared, with no good replacement. I am bereft. Guess it’ll be Lupin the Third on Cartoon Network.

    ETA: Where is everybody?

  55. 55

    @Steeplejack: West Coast still here(editing pics from today’s shoot).

  56. 56
    James E Powell says:


    That’s about 5 million people, no? How about Wyoming, Montana, and both Dakotas?

  57. 57
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Steeplejack: we’re sleeping. Do you mind turning down the tv? It’s so loud.

  58. 58
  59. 59
  60. 60
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    Jared’s peace deal won’t fly.

    It still leaves some Palestinians living on Palestinian land.

    That won’t be good enough for the only stakeholders in this that matter.

  61. 61
    Zinsky says:

    Since Kushner is Jewish, he is not familiar with the verse, but one of my favorite New Testament passages is I Timothy 6:10 which begins, “the love of money is the root of all evil”. No other Bible verse explains as much of Donald J. Trump’s black soul as these words. Money will never solve an intractable problem like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – it will only create more evil.

  62. 62
    Gvg says:

    Actually, this agreement reminds me of a sort of variant of the saying, “if you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” I would rephrase it as, “if you are a real estate developer, everything looks like it needs a development deal”. Jared, and possibly Trump, just don’t understand any other kind of deal. This is useless, of course.
    Fundamental principle, hire subject experts and listen. I’d like to end our American normal policy to end appointing Ambassadors from big donors to flatter their egos. I want all of the jobs to go to professionals. Boy are we going to have a foreign policy mess to sort out after Trump. And frankly, most of our citizens still don’t understand what the damage is costing us, so they won’t see the need for groveling and are going to hinder repair, even if they understood enough to hate Trump for domestic reasons.

  63. 63
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    How about “til the stars fall from the sky / For you and I!”

  64. 64
    PST says:

    @zhena gogolia: Right. That should of course be “till the stars fall from the sky / For you and I!”

  65. 65
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Steeplejack: What he was “getting done” was opposing busing for desegregation.

  66. 66
    大芒果 says:

    back in the 70s I suggested moving al of Israel to Southern Az…just peal off the top 2 inches of soil , move it to the desert and viola Holy Land…..

  67. 67
    Mike in DC says:

    What I suspect the “plan” is:
    1. Israel annexes 40+% of the West Bank
    2. No land swaps
    3. Palestine gets token economic assistance
    4. No formal Palestinian state or nationhood, just a continuation of the status quo, with Israel controlling checkpoints and all borders
    5. No promises that Israel won’t annex additional territory in the future

    Basically, what any other people would react to by preparing for war.

  68. 68
    Steeplejack says:


    Heh, well played.

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